868.24/90: Telegram

The Minister in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

290. For the President: Premier Metaxas has asked me to convey to you his personal felicitations on your re-election and the joy which he feels in its happy augury for the world. In addition both he and the King have asked me to bring to your attention efforts recently made by the Greek authorities to buy 60 pursuit planes in the United States, efforts which they say came to nothing because of British priority. They state that they have now requested the British, in view of the new situation and Greece’s desperate need under indiscriminate bombing, to waive this priority and that all details together [Page 584]with specifications covering other desired matériel are either in the hands of the Greek Legation in Washington or being forwarded by cable today.

The Premier has given me the following message for you.

“Because she wished to maintain her neutrality, Greece has been subjected to brutal aggression but has risen as one man to defend her liberty, her independence and her honor. I appeal in this grave hour to Your Excellency’s high sense of justice for an extension of aid to Greece in a struggle which however unequal must be victorious in a sacred cause. Such aid could best consist in the prompt delivery of munitions and raw materials. I have supplied a list of these to the Greek Legation in Washington and permit myself to call it to Your Excellency’s personal attention through the kind offices of the American Legation in Athens.”

Both the King and the Premier wish to make it clear that only the present critical situation and not a desire to escape from normal channels which they are using to the best of their abilities in any case prompts their addressing you personally in such a matter.